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Otwell Middle event teaches easy, healthy food prep
Barbara Worley
Barbara Worley, a Family and Consumer Sciences Agent for the UGA Extension spoke to a group at Otwell Middle School about healthy food prep. - photo by Alexander Popp

Ever gotten home from a long day of work or school and stared into the fridge, questioning what you could possibly make to feed yourself or your family with the energy left in your body, the ingredients left in your kitchen and the money in your wallet? 

If this situation sounds familiar, a new program in Forsyth County could be right for you. 

Otwell Middle School hosted the first session of the Fuel Your Brain program on Tuesday, aimed at educating parents and students on the ins and outs of stress-free, healthy cooking that won’t break the bank. 

According to Otwell Teacher Ali Cregan, the program is a response to years of parents asking for programs focused on teaching them how to cook healthier and cheaper. 

“We as a school have to provide academic sessions for parents, to help them help their kids at home,” she said, speaking at the Otwell cafeteria Tuesday evening. 

“Parents have said ‘I don’t know how to cook on a budget, I have no money and I don’t know how to cook a nutritional meal,’” she said. “And, we are just trying to figure out a way to help them out and make their kids successful, because if you are filling your brain with good food, you are going to be able to sit in class and learn something.”

She said that after seeing this need within the community, organizers decided to partner with the UGA Extension to create a class where parents could learn how to cook and kids could learn about the science and math that goes into cooking. 

The Fuel Your Brain initiative which will meet two more times at 6 p.m. April 10 and May 15, will be led by Barbara Worley, a Family and Consumer Sciences Agent for the UGA Extension off of Lanier 400 Parkway in Cumming. 

Beyond the actual lesson, demonstration and food that is provided at each meeting, Worley had a packet of information, recipes and a gift for participants to take home at the end of the class. 

“Tonight’s lesson is about stress-free meal planning. Taking the stress out of planning meals, which is why a lot of people will run out and buy unhealthy foods, because they think they don’t have time to prepare healthy foods at home, especially when they have screaming children or when they have school functions to get to,” Worley said during the program.

For the participants that attended the event, Worley walked through sceneries of situations that can make cooking at home more stressful, as well as tips and tricks of how to minimize that stress. 

She said that meal planning beforehand and planning on going to the grocery store once a week with a good shopping list can make all the difference at meal times. 

At the conclusion of the program, Worley demonstrated a nutritious “one pan” meal called Curley Noodle Supreme, using tomatoes, corn, ramen noodles, turkey and various spices.  She said that this simple and easy-to-clean-up meal, contains the recommended nutrients while remaining tasty and kid friendly. 

“You are in control of meals. You are in control of finances,” she said to the group of participants.